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Genesis 3:14-21 Princeton Christian Church 10 January 2021

The year 2020 did not treat us well. It’s been a terrible year? What do we have to be thankful for? What can we, as Christians, be grateful for, even in hard circumstances, pointing to the hope we have in Christ while acknowledging the real and hard things we have experienced?

On this Lord’s Day, early in a new year, we have already said goodby to 2020. The year 2020 was a year to remember, or maybe a year we would prefer to forget. But I doubt that we ever will. We must look forward and take hope in the things we have to be thankful for.

So, today we will look at what we can be grateful for even in difficult circumstances. We must point our thinking and our action to the hope we have in Christ while acknowledging the real and hard things we have experienced.

We could spend days listing the reasons why 2020 was the worst year of our lives. In reality, 2020 was a year of extremes for many people: the loss of loved ones, the loss of jobs, the loss of hope and expectations, as well as the isolation many felt, and are still experiencing while they could not even be with family.

Someone noted that maybe we should not mention the words twenty-twenty. Let’s just call it “the previous year” – kind of like hotels that skip the 13th floor. But, to be sure, we cannot forget it because it was a life changing year.

Some people, of course, are asking where was God during all this time? Does God have a plan for when things are going bad? Well, although we don’t always know and understand His plan we can rest assured that He is still In control of the world He created and He has a plan for His people.

When we look back at history, we will find that “the previous year” was actually not the worst in history. We might mention any year a war began, the years when plagues wiped out huge portions of the population, the beginning of communism and others as terrible points in the history of the world.

But, individually, we will usually define a year as the worst year in our lives depending on the impact that year had on us personally. Even when we are in the middle of what appears to be a bad year, we have to know that there are some good things we can place our focus on.

Well, with all that said, let’s look into the Word this morning and find that God does have a plan for His people. Let’s go to Genesis 3:14-21. Genesis is the Book of Beginnings. I think that is an appropriate place to begin in “this new year.”

Read Genesis 3:14-21 Prayer

Now here is where we can find the worst year in human history. Even though we do not have an official year on the calendar for when the events of Genesis 3 took place, we can see that indeed, whatever the year these events happened, that year has to be the worst one in human history.

God had created Paradise. He had formed man, and called him Adam. He created woman, from the rib of Adam, and she was named Eve. God provided a good and easy life for Adam and Eve. They even enjoyed walks through the garden with God! Life is perfect until we get to Genesis 3!

This is where temptation and the fall of humanity began and led to the banishment of the first humans from their paradise. The serpent – Satan – enters the garden. He presents the teimptation. Eve gives in to the temptation and lures Adam to do the same. Then comes the shame, loneliness and fear. God confronts them and they begin their defense with flimsy excuses.

God proclaims the curse of the serpent. And, in 3:15 introduces hope for mankind in the very first indication of God’s plan for the salvation of man through Jesus Christ. Yes, God has a plan, and it was first proclaimed on the worst day of the history of the world – when man first rebelled against God.

God gave Adam and Eve one thing NOT to do. And, starting with Eve, they both gave in to the temptation of that fruit.

So, it isn’t too farfetched to say that the year the events in Genesis 3 took place can be seen as the worst year in human history. The events that took place in Genesis 3 have affected all of creation and all of humanity.

What we need to gain from looking at this passage is that even in the middle of the storm, even in the moment of our most epic failures, God has a plan! Even in dire circumstances and the upending of God’s good plan for the world, He does still have a plan – a plan designed from the beginning. And, His plan provides a way for the salvation of His people. We should be thankful for His plan. His plan includes us, and all who trust in Him and are obedient to His plan. So, this morning, let’s take a look at His plan.

I. God has a plan for those who deceive.

There are always those people who will do everything they can to take advantage of people. Some are very successful at being able to do so.

Satan, who took on the form of a serpent, is the greatest deceiver that has ever existed.

After God created the tree from which Adam and Eve were told to stay away from, Eve possibly walked by that tree every day on her walk through the garden. She might have wondered how the fruit growing there would taste. It looked so good to the eye. But, God said don’t eat it.

Whatever we are tempted with always does look good to the eye. Satan was watching and when the time seemed to be right - when Eve appeared to be at her most vulnerable, Satan shows up to deceive Eve and encourage her to disobey God’s command. After all, God didn’t really mean that she would die if she ate the fruit. Satan attacks us when we are most vulnerable – when our defenses are at their weakest point.

When Satan tempted Eve, and Eve bit into the fruit, mankind and God suffered a great deal. When God created the tree that Adam and Eve were warned to avoid, God did so in order that Adam and Eve would have freedom of choice, free will, which is actually a part of God’s love for His creation. Clearly. God wanted Adam and Eve to obey Him because they loved Him.

So, does God have a plan for those who are deceivers? Will they go free with no consequences when it is all said and done? People in this world whose choose to deceive and cheat people, will stand before God one day. Satan was standing before God and God had a plan for him.

When God created mankind, He knew mankind would eventually fall. We know that God is never surprised by anything that happens or anything any of us do. So, God still created us, and when His perfect creation chose the path of disobedience instead of love, God was not caught by surprise.

The serpent, as an animal, was cursed “above all livestock, and above every wild animal,” as a perpetual reminder to man of the deceiver which caused the fall of man and of the final destruction of Satan himself. Satan may have been a creature of beauty standing upright before, but now, because of his deceit, he would slither on his belly and be an object of dread and fear. Ultimately, Satan is a defeated enemy.

Look again at verse 16.

II. God has a plan when we are deceived.

Sometimes we can go through life not really aware of what is happening around us. Eve knew better than to do what Satan enticed her to do. After all, her creator gave her clear instruction.

There are times in life when we can be deceived by other people. We have, probably all of us, been deceived by another person at some time in our lives. So, what happens when I allow myself to be deceived? How is my giving in to the deception of another person dealt with? Does God have a plan, or a way to deal with me when I allow myself to be deceived? Well, of course, the answer is yes, He does.

Let’s look at how He dealt with Eve in her deception. Eve paid a high price for her sin. The pain of giving birth was going to be multiplied, and her husband will rule over her. The process of childbearing, designed by the God to bring forth new life, will also serve as a vivid reminder of the consequences of attempting to live life on one’s own terms and not on God’s.

We need to be alert in life. We cannot allow ourselves to fall for the deceptions of the enemy! Remember the warning Peter gives us in his letter - 1 Peter 5:8: “Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.”

Now, let’s look at Adam’s part in all of this. Genesis 3:17-19:

III. God has a plan when we do foolish things.

Adam is in deep trouble because he was just being foolish or maybe even dumb. Adam, just like Eve, knew better. God told him – clearly – Do not eat from that tree. Yet, there he goes, listening to Eve and giving in to the same temptation and deceit she had submitted to. “So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”

God punished Adam for making a foolish decision and not being bold enough to stop Eve. He allowed his wife to sin, and, in fact, he indulged in the sin with her.

Adam’s life of ease was to be no longer. Because of Adam’s foolish act he brought on physical death for the human race. We all die physically because of Adam, while we all die spiritually because of our own sin. Adam and Eve didn’t drop dead the moment they ate, but that is when the process of death started.

IV. God has a plan that offers deliverance.

This is the situation there at the beginning. God’s creation of man has taken a downturn. How can there be a way to restore what God intended for man? Adam and Eve brought a curse on creation. They began the process of their own death as well as ushering in death to all.

Childbirth was going to be more painful. The ground was going to be more difficult to harvest. The woman’s role in the home was changed. And, on top of all of that, they were evicted from their perfect home.

Is it all over for mankind? No, there is hope because of the grace of God. GOD HAS A PLAN!

Verse 15 comes along. “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

The great promise in Genesis 3:15 has been known at the “first gospel”, promising the ultimate coming and victory of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

It obviously entails far more than a trivial reference to the physical enmity between men and snakes, though this may be included as a sort of secondary pictorial parallel.

This prophecy clearly looks forward to the time when Satan will be completely crushed beneath the feet of the woman’s triumphant Seed, Jesus.

God also made clothing for Adam and Eve by shedding blood of an animal to cover Adam and Eve. Why is that statement significant? Because this is the first time we see that sins require the shedding of blood as an atonement for sin. Again, a look ahead at the suffering of Jesus on the cross, paying the price for our sin.

When all seems lost, God still has a plan. I do not think any of us has had a day as bad as Adam and Eve on that fateful day. God’s love for His creation of mankind, and His grace opened the door for hope. When you are at your lowest, God will offer you a way out of the darkness into salvation!

The losses of this year seem astronomical, but they don’t have to define us, nor do they negate the wins. We do not have to be defined by our failures! What we can learn, and grow from, if we will, is this: When things go bad and look bad, ask God for the eyes to see His grace in the midst of hardship and sin.

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